Thursday, July 26, 2012

Top Chef Masters 4.1 Recap

Top Chef Masters is back! It seems like a long time since the last season, doesn’t it?

This season, the action is taking place in Las Vegas. The chefs meet up and immediately the coffee klatsch is interrupted by Curtis Stone who slaps a Quickfire on them. The twelve Cheftestants break into six teams, each of which needs to create one dish, for the chance at a 10K prize. But there’s a catch - they first must play Ingredient Poker. Cards are shuffled and dealt and each team is stuck with two different ingredients they must incorporate into their dish.

Not only that, but they also have a mere 15 minutes to cook.

The judges are casino dealers who decide that the beef and catfish dish produced by Chefs Yeo and Cosentino is the winner.

On to the Elimination Challenge. Las Vegas is famous for its buffets groaning with heaps of crappy food. The Cheftestants, who are divided into two teams this time, must do their own riff on a buffet. There’s 15 minutes for planning, 45 for shopping, and 5 hours for cooking.

Back at the kitchen, the chefs are getting ready to work when Curtis comes in with a handful of scratch-off tickets. He hands one to each chef, who then reveals either a bonus or issue to deal with. For instance, Art Smith gets immunity, Kerry Heffernan loses 30 minutes of cooking time, and Patricia Yeo gets $1000. There are also two gold tickets, one of which tells the Red Team that they need to make a Mexican buffet. The Blue Team gets stuck with an Indian buffet.

Where’s Suvir Saran and Floyd Cardoz when you need them?

Each team can send out one chef to buy more ethnic-appropriate ingredients. Art Smith volunteers for the Red Team and spends entirely too much time at the market. While he’s out, Missy Robbins cuts her hand severely, and she’s sent to the hospital for skin grafts. The wound is so bad, she has to leave the competition. Later, Curtis claims he’ll put her at the top of the list for the next season of Masters. We’ll see if he has any clout with the network. :)

Eventually, Art returns, cooking gets done, and people are fed. The diners are Las Vegas performers, which gives the chefs a bit of a show. The Red Team, despite missing two members during most of the cooking time, wins the challenge, and Chris Cosentino is the big individual winner, earning another 10 grand for his charity. Of course this means the Blue Team is the loser, and Sue Torres (who would have done very well had she been on the Mexican buffet team) is sent home.

So what did you think? Do you like Vegas as the venue for this season’s challenges? Please leave a comment.

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